An investigation into high-thread count sheets has found that many brands have been overestimating their figures.
Leading textile analysts, Shirley Technologies, examined eight high-thread count sheets sold by the biggest bedding retailers to check how the thread was counted.
Among them Debenhams 1,200 thread-count sheets were found to have just 346 while John Lewis’s high-thread count sheets had just 402 threads, according to BBC2‘s What to Buy And Why.
John Lewis’ 1,000 thread-count Egyptian Cotton sheet had just 402 threads the BBC found. It costs £130 for a double sheet which the brand advertises as having 1000 thread-count
John Lewis stands by its numbers but says it will make it clear to their customer that’s their sheets include twisted yarns
The team counted the horizontal and vertical threads in a sample square inch of each sheet and found in four cases the thread count had been calculated on what could be a misleading basis.
The idea is the more threads, the more luxurious the sheet.
Ian Strudwick from Shirley Technologies said: ‘The term thread means one individual shot of yarn inputted into the fabric.
‘In the four cases, what we’re finding is there are multiple individual threads which are then twisted together to make a yarn’.
Dorma 1,000 thread-count sheets from Dunelm, which costs £43.99 for a double, was found to have 452 threads the BBC reported
The BBC documentary found Debenhams 1,200 thread-count Sheridan Palais Lux, which costs £59.50 for a double sheet, being counted at 346 threads
‘It’s harder to weave (using a single thread), it’s more delicate, takes longer, is less efficient, than if you twist those four individual ends into one yarn, and then weave it in as a fourfold yarn.
‘It’s just simply a more cost effective weaving process.’
According to the BBC, the discrepancy was greatest for the Sheridan Palais Lux sheet sold in Debenhams, costing £59.50 for a double sheet. Despite marketing it as having a thread count of 1,200, the count by Shirley Technologies was only 346.
The 1,000 thread count sheets were also lower than advertised, the BBC documentary found House of Fraser’s Luxury Hotel Collection sheet, which costs £78 for a king-sized sheet, being counted at 780 threads.
House of Fraser’s 1,000 thread-count Luxury Hotel Collection sheet, which costs £78 for a king-sized sheet, was counted at 780 threads by Shirley Technologies
The retailers denied misleading customers and maintained their use of twisted yarns was an established practice
WHAT IS THREAD COUNT?
Technically, the term ‘thread count’ refers to the number of threads woven together in one square inch of fabric. Manufacturers count them both horizontally and vertically across this little square. The idea is, the more threads they cram in, the more luxurious the sheet.
Yet, this is not always an exact indicator of quality. Some manufacturers count the strands that make up an individual thread as additional threads, meaning a thread count of 600 might really be just 300 double-ply threads.
Other factors include finish and tightness of weave. For example, sateen is cotton yarn woven like satin for a lustrous sheen, while percale is a closely woven thread-count of more than 200.
Dunelm’s Dorma sheet had 452 threads, which costs £43.99 for a double sheet. John Lewis’s Egyptian Cotton sheet had just 402 threads, which costs £130 for a double sheet.
In response to What to Buy And Why’s findings all four retailers deny misleading customers, maintaining their products are high quality and that the use of twisted yarns is an established practice.
The BBC report that House of Fraser says as there is no legal definition of a thread count and stands by its numbers, as does Dunelm and John Lewis.
However, John Lewis says it will make it clear to their customer that their sheets include twisted yarns.
Sheridan, the makers of the Debenhams sheets, says using this technique is the only way to make sheets with thousand plus thread-counts of sufficient quality.
House of Fraser says as there is no legal definition of thread count, it stands by its numbers, as does Dunelm and John Lewis. John Lewis said it would clarify to customers sheets include twisted yarns
But the results remain confusing for consumers.
Of the other four sheets tested, the analysts found that two sheets were accurate, one was slightly overestimated and one was dramatically underestimated at a 645 thread count when it was in fact almost a thousand.
Shirley Technologies states on its website its client base includes large multinational yarn, fabric and finished product manufacturers, garment producers and high street retailers, consumers and regulatory testing organisations such as Trading Standards.
What To Buy And Why airs tonight at 8.30pm on BBC Two.